Jay Solomon and Gerald Seib seem almost to feel sorry for poor Barack Obama. In so doing they are adopting the party line: the situation in the Middle East is so complicated that no one could manage it.
The Middle East has descended into a state of disarray unusual even for that troubled region, imperiling President Barack Obama’s policy dreams and leaving him with limited ability to control events.
The latest complication has erupted in Yemen, where rebel forces backed by Iran have driven out the country’s president and are expanding their control southward across the country. The prospect that those Shiite rebels might succeed in taking over a neighboring country has so alarmed the Sunni leaders of Saudi Arabia that they have launched airstrikes and assembled an international coalition to intervene—a coalition that the U.S. has vowed to help.
That means the Obama administration finds itself in a highly awkward position: It now is lined up against Iran in Yemen. Meanwhile, it is trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Tehran and is working on the same side as the Iranians to defeat Islamic State fighters in Iraq.
Moreover, at this moment of high regional anxiety, Mr. Obama finds his ties to Israel and Egypt, two traditional bulwarks of pro-American sentiment, under great strain. And his dream of smoothly exiting the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered a double blow this week as U.S. planes had to spring back into action in Iraq in an attempt to push back Islamic State forces, and Mr. Obama agreed to keep in Afghanistan thousands of troops he had hoped could leave by year’s end.
The upshot is that Mr. Obama is engaged in a juggling act, trying to keep aloft a nuclear deal with Iran, the fight against Islamic State and an effort to prevent Yemen from sliding into hostile hands—all without the kind of military presence or solid phalanx of loyal allies the U.S. once had at its disposal.
The esteemed journalists fail to notice that President Obama is the one person who is most responsible for the mess.
After all, his policies produced it. His surrender in Iraq produced part of it. His mismanagement of the Arab Spring helped advance it. His petulant attacks on Israel moved it along. His betrayal of an ally showed that he could not be trusted: His willful drive to make a deal, any deal with Iran contributed mightily to the problem.
Now, the situation is out of control. Our allies no longer trust us and our enemies no longer fear us.
It’s what happens when America elects as president a man who has no experience in foreign policy and who acts as though the real world must fulfill his dreams, or the dreams of his father.